Pulmonary Rehab aims to educate people on lung health and to equip them with exercises that promote the same
Most of the time we barely notice how we breathe. The process of inhalation and exhalation is so natural and familiar that we live most of our life, without even realising we are constantly doing it. Only when we do strenuous activity, which makes us gasp for breath do we feel the heaving of our chest and the need to breathe. However, for some people breathing can be a strenuous activity. Older people with weakened systems, individuals who are exposed to air pollution and those with chronic lung diseases, often need to put extra effort into breathing. These people can benefit from breathing exercises, which help increase lung capacity.
Individuals with chronic lung diseases that lead to episodes of breathlessness quite frequently, can benefit from Pulmonary Rehabilitation. These patients are unable to perform daily tasks because of shortness of breath. Pulmonary Rehab aims to educate people on lung health and to equip them with exercises that promote the same. Skills learned in Pulmonary Rehab help patients manage their chronic lung disease such as COPD, thereby improving the overall quality of life. Patients who have sustained lung damages due to COVID 19 may also benefit from breathing exercises.
BENEFITS OF BREATHING EXERCISES
- Improve lung capacity
- Strengthen the diaphragm
- Keeps the lungs flexible
- Expel deep-seated mucous
SIMPLE BREATHING EXERCISES
- PURSED LIPS BREATHING
- – Sit in an upright position because good posture promotes lung movement.
- – Purse your lips without closing them fully.
- – Breathe in deeply through the nose in a slow and controlled manner.
- – Breathes out through your pursed lips
- – Exhalation should take even longer than inhalation
- BELLY BREATHING
- – Belly breathing focuses on strengthening the diaphragm – the thin sheet of a muscle below the lungs.
- – Lie down on your back and place a light object on your stomach
- – Breathe in slowly through your nose.
- – As you breathe in, notice how the object rises along with the stomach.
- – Breath out slowly.
- – Each time you inhale try to make your belly rise higher
- – Each time you exhale try and make it last longer than the inhalation.
- YAWN TO SMILE
- – Sit in an upright position.
- – Stretch arms on either side of your body and above your head.
- – Yawn while stretching your arms.
- – Hold this position for a few seconds and then bring your head down to your sides.
- – Smile for three seconds.
- – Repeat these two poses for a minute.
- – This exercise works on the muscles in the chest and on the diaphragm
- LOW HUMMING
- – Sit in an upright position.
- – Close your lips shut and breathe in through your nose.
- – Feel your belly expand.
- – When your lungs are full, exhale through your nose slowly saying a ‘hmmmmm’
- – Humming increases nitric oxide in the body, thereby improving neural plasticity and dilating blood vessels for better oxygen supply.
- INTERVAL TRAINING
- – For those who experience shortness of breath during exercise, Interval training can be of help
- – Interval training involves alternating between heavy cardio exercises and periods of rest.
- – If you train hard for one minute, rest for two minutes
- – Interval Training helps the lungs recover before challenging them again
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITYBrisk walking, monitored treadmill workout, biking, and lifting weights help improve lung function. People with lung disease and breathing trouble tend to avoid working out because it makes breathing difficult. With time, exercising improves lung capacity and lung health and you will notice that you do not gasp for breath as much as you did before.
LIFESTYLE CHOICES THAT PROTECT YOUR LUNGS:
- – Quit smoking
- – Avoid exposure to dangerous gases and chemical fumes
- – Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
- – Exercise regularly
- – Include foods rich in antioxidants in your diet
LUNG CANCER SCREENING
Those who fall in the high risk category must be screened for lung cancer at the earliest. Screening is done even before symptoms are visible, so as to catch the disease in its nascent stage. The sooner the cancer is detected, the better are the chances to treat the disease successfully. The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT).
Lung Cancer Screening can be carried out for:
- Have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and
- Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
- Are between 50 and 80 years old.
LUNG CANCER PREVENTION
- QUIT SMOKING
- AVOID SECONDHAND SMOKE
- REDUCE EXPOSURE TO CARCINOGENS
- EAT A HEALTHY DIET
- AVOID A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
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